Changing the Terms of Internal Communication
Internal communication has historically been about delivering words—usually from the top to the bottom of organisations, frequently in terms designed to defend the organisation, occasionally to advance all or part of the organisational agenda.
The traditional top-down approach to internal communication has generally been accompanied by a philosophy that, for the most part, specifies that most communication should address all employees equally—an approach known as “one-size-fits-all.”
But these approaches and strategies have historically ignored three key facts about internal communication: that most of it takes place between employees on a day to day basis, most employees have different motives and interests from each other, and that a very small number of highly influential employees—at all levels–drive the majority of conversations and messages in any organisation.
Changing the terms of internal communication doesn’t necessarily mean using new tools, new media, or calling the same old one-way approaches “employee engagement.”
Changing the terms means recognising the natural patterns and networks that drive communication and give it credibility. It means connecting those patterns and networks with the organisation’s objectives and agendas, and then using appropriate tools, forums and voices to move the conversations forward.
Changing the terms of internal communication means thinking as much about whom you communicate with, as you do how or what you communicate.